Universal Orlando files development plans for property near Orange County Convention Center

Universal Orlando files development plans for property near Orange County Convention Center

ORLANDO, Fla. — Universal Orlando filed planning documents with Orange County Friday to develop warehouses and an office building on part of their property by the Lockheed Martin facility.

It’s the first major public filing the company has made toward developing the property.

According to planning documents, Universal is looking to build three large warehouses, a three-story office building, a data center and parking lots on the 101-acre property along the 5000 block of Sand Lake Road.

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Universal’s attorneys have said in recent court filings the company plans to build a theme park on the more than 500 acres of property the company owns near the Orange County Convention Center.

The proposed development could be support for behind-the-scenes development operations for the park.

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Universal purchased the land in October 2017 for $27.5 million, according to the Orange County property appraiser.

The most recent land purchase on West Sand Lake Road joins a nearby 470-acre, $130 million purchase made by Universal two years ago.

In recent years, purchases of land and revamping of current theme parks has been a common practice for Universal Orlando as it works to accelerate its competition with Central Florida mainstay Disney World.

Two large hotels are planned at the site of Universal’s Wet ‘n Wild, which was replaced by Volcano Bay in May 2017.

Sources told Channel 9 in November that Universal Studios plans to eventually add more Nintendo rides and attractions as part of a third park at the recently purchased 500 acres of land on the other side of I- 4 near Universal Boulevard, as well as at Islands of Adventure.

Originally, the Nintendo project was only expected at Universal Studios Florida, slated to take a portion out of the KidZone section where the Woody Woodpecker and Barney rides are located.

Building permits released in November include an 8.8-acre Super Mario Land in that spot, with Donkey Kong and Mario Kart sections.

Sources have said the idea is to expand on a possible film project with Illumination Entertainment, the studio behind "Despicable Me," to eventually make a Super Mario Brothers CG movie.

Universal Orlando officials were not immediately available for comment.